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Managing With Style: The Effect Of Managers On Firm Policies

  • Marianne Bertrand
  • Antoinette Schoar

This paper investigates whether and how individual managers affect corporate behavior and performance. We construct a manager-firm matched panel data set which enables us to track the top managers across different firms over time. We find that manager fixed effects matter for a wide range of corporate decisions. A significant extent of the heterogeneity in investment, financial, and organizational practices of firms can be explained by the presence of manager fixed effects. We identify specific patterns in managerial decision-making that appear to indicate general differences in "style" across managers. Moreover, we show that management style is significantly related to manager fixed effects in performance and that managers with higher performance fixed effects receive higher compensation and are more likely to be found in better governed firms. In a final step, we tie back these findings to observable managerial characteristics. We find that executives from earlier birth cohorts appear on average to be more conservative; on the other hand, managers who hold an MBA degree seem to follow on average more aggressive strategies. © 2001 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 118 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1169-1208

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:4:p:1169-1208
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  1. Steven Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1987. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 2387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R., 2001. "The theory and practice of corporate finance: evidence from the field," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2-3), pages 187-243, May.
  3. Julio Rotemberg & Garth Saloner, 2000. "Visionaries, Managers, and Strategic Direction," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 693-716, Winter.
  4. Peter MacKay & Gordon M. Phillips, 2002. "Is There an Optimal Industry Financial Structure?," NBER Working Papers 9032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Van den Steen, Eric, 2003. "Organizational Beliefs and Managerial Vision," Working papers 4224-01, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  6. Nancy L. Rose & Andrea Shepard, 1997. "Firm Diversification and CEO Compensation: Managerial Ability or Executive Entrenchment?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(3), pages 489-514, Autumn.
  7. Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate, 2004. "CEO Overconfidence and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 10807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Judith Chevalier & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "Are Some Mutual Fund Managers Better Than Others? Cross-Sectional Patterns in Behavior and Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(3), pages 875-899, 06.
  9. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Michael S. Weisbach, 1996. "Endogenously Chosen Boards of Directors and Their Monitoring of the CEO," Microeconomics 9602001, EconWPA, revised 09 Oct 1996.
  10. Smith, C.W. & Watts, R.L., 1992. "The Investment Oppotunity set and Corporate Financing, Dividend and Compensation Policies," Papers 92-02, Rochester, Business - Financial Research and Policy Studies.
  11. Warner, Jerold B. & Watts, Ross L. & Wruck, Karen H., 1988. "Stock prices and top management changes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 461-492, January.
  12. Parrino, Robert, 1997. "CEO turnover and outside succession A cross-sectional analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 165-197, November.
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